Achieving work-life balance might seem easy in theory, but any experienced worker knows how hard it is to be equally satisfied with your work life and your personal life. In one survey, the United States limped in at 30 out of 38 countries when it came to work-life balance, with 11.4% employees working more than 50 hours a week. Human beings as a species are too lenient and generous when it comes to how we divide and donate our time. We try to fit 28 hours of work and life into a 24-hour day, which means we end up with more things to do on our agenda than we had room for.
Father of five and Lifesize CEO Craig Malloy has had over 30 years of experience juggling and striving for a better work-life balance. Here are a few of the tips that have worked for him and his family.
Gimme a Break
When it comes to starting a company from the ground up, it’s hard to separate your personal life from your work life. Your company is like your fourth, fifth or sixth baby, and it’s difficult to not think about your business when it comes so naturally and involuntarily. Taking a step back is important. It gives your brain space to breathe and helps you think more creatively.
FT: Family Time
No one should have to choose between spending time with their family and losing momentum at work. In one survey, 57% of employees stated that technology has ruined the modern family dinner. If family dinner is an important part of your work-life balance, prioritize leaving work on time and leave the tech out of the equation so you can be mentally and physically available for your family.
It’s Called the Bed-room, not the Phone-room
Where do you put your phone when you go to bed? Probably on your nightstand right by your bed, right? Try leaving your phone in the living room. From all the work you’ve done today and still have to do tomorrow, you deserve a trip down REM sleep lane. If your phone is right by your bed, the first and last thing you look at every day is going to be work-related, never really giving you a chance to wind down. Read a book, do a face mask, watch a movie — you deserve (and might need) it.
Lead by Example
As the CEO at Lifesize, Craig makes sure to not check his emails or get online after work hours unless it’s something urgent. If he’s online at 9:30 at night and starts pinging staff members, soon the whole organization will feel pressure to be online at 9:30 too. By unplugging after hours, he sets the tone for the rest of the organization.
Cut that Commute
No one likes being stuck in rush hour traffic. With video conferencing technology, you can offset your commute by taking your first meeting of the morning at home, still feel connected with your team and then head in a little bit later after traffic has settled. That way, you don’t spend your personal AND your work time sitting in a car.
Of course, the way people balance work and personal life is different for everyone. But life comes at you fast — kids grow up, parents grow old and trends change. Don’t let your work agenda take over; take advantage of the technology available to you, draw the line to unplug when you need to and reach that work-life balance you’ve always been striving toward. It comes with a lot of practice, but you’ll get there.